Sunday, March 26, 2006

Specifics 3.18

Reflecting is trying to understand an object within the system that causes that object. It's being aware of something you must have to be able to fit reasons into systems and carry them around in your mind. But that object itself is something different from systems and minds.

Grasping a connection between this super-rational object and those systems and minds is a process.

First get clear on the problem.

Undefined mental bridges connect to islands lost in the fog.

Reflecting is trying to solve a problem. It's trying to get a line from the coast to something helpless at sea through a shifting and uncertain light.

Self-Repairing Metasystems 3.21.1

Reflection is always trying to solve a problem. To solve the problem, you have to know what the problem really is. But to know what the problem is, you have to know what questioning is. A question is a system of ideas that is trying to fix a problem in its own structure.

Questioning clarifies the problem to figure out how to solve it. Once the system of ideas is as complete as we can make it, we can construct theories. The more complete the system, the more the solution is better, easier, and faster. Wording the question well is part of the process of answering it. Very few can or do truly think. Many minds wander from the subject in hopeless reverie or they just get bored. They can't think about ideas. They may be tired or distracted or just not interested. Or they may be over-emotional. They might be insane, or just plain wierd. These things we pass by. They distort and disrupt by breaking in from the outside.

They have an importance, and some thinking is at the mercy of those factors. But thinking can can never surrender itself completely to the control of the subject-matter and it can be objectively logical, even though it can be influenced by instincts, desires, and feelings. If that were not the case, one could not know that fact, much less state it.

If all thinking is governed by non-logical factors, then that statement itself is also governed by those non-logical factors, and that statement has no more claim on our acceptance than any other non-logical factor. If we can't solve a problem, it's because of a lack of knowledge and-or creativity or the will to inquire.

3.21.18 ~ Solution Formulas

Can any rules teach the formula for recognizing which quality of an object is the most connected to it? The only prior advice that can be given to someone embarking onlife with a certain purpose is: Among the circumstances you encounter, pick out the *right* circumstances for your purpose. Millions stare at something before a brighter mind thinks of the concept. Genius sees the right things when opening one's eyes to the world. Fools have the same purposes as geniuses, but get their attention tangled up in the superfluous.

3.22.1 ~ The Reflective Process

Relection is an imperfect system of ideas developing toward self-completion. A challenge to the system by something demanding inclusion starts the process. This challenge added to theoretical, practical, and other needs causes the system to begin incorporating the foreign object within itself. First, it makes the issue to be settled as definite as the case admits, and makes explicit the resources already assumed which imply things about the problem. Second, if those resources are not sufficient, one broadens the base from which implication might emerge, by reading, consulting, and observing. Third, one theorizes.

3.22.27 ~ The Problem of Invention

The problem of invention is how a partially realized goal gets what it needs to extend itself or complete itself in some sense. How does a goal conquer the waves of irrelevant impluse and association and reclaim a further domain of the sea? Invention is purpose assuming authority over ideas. Implications from it are no accident. There is thought in the goal itself. The purpose takes what it needs from what is given, and discards the rest. And it doesn't just select from passively received matter. The purpose makes the matter an object of thought. The spirit of logic makes distinctions in the unformed matter, and the spirit of beauty supplies the goals and the means of reaching them. The tendency toward a completed unity is the source of all thought. But what are the devices the fragments already in the mind use to extend and complete themselves?

3.23.1 ~ A New Thought

Reflection begins with a collision between a system or order already in the mind, and some fragment that ought to be included in this system, but remains outside it. A detective begins to reflect on someone's death because there is a conflict between the fact of the person's death and something already in the mind. The detective orders their experience on the principle that events have causes. This event challenges inclusion in that order. The detective makes it fit by first learning the details of the problem by reflecting and observing. Observation is guided by what experience has taught about which details are relevant.Consequently, the detective pays more attention to bruises apparently made by some blunt instrument.The details are not obtained by focusing on a single point. The basis of a new thought must be broad. If the question was merely who might have used the blunt instrument, their would be an indefinitely large number of answers. The question is who must have done this in view of unemptied pockets, signs of a struggle, the butler's loyalty, and perhaps a hundred other things---all relevant details. A successful conclusion from a single factor alone would be an accident. The conclusion come from all of them taken together.The problem is to fit a detached fact into the entire surrounding system.


Two minds think about the same problem with the same data. One catches the essential key to solution and the other does not. Why? Because one is more intelligent than the other? Some perverse cleverness or fertility that goes off in dazzling disregard of fact? No. Thought controlled by the necessities of the case. Random and heterogeneous analogies cause thought to drift through various associations. The less random and heterogenous they are, the more necessary they become.The universal connection discovered should be the right one. Newton, in contemplating planets and apples, must light on the concept of falling as leading to the force he seeks. Darwin must select from people and racehorses the feature that is essential to improvement of the type. The suggestion of an undiscovered star must come to Leverrier. Shakespeare must be carried, with or without analogies, to the last speech of Othello. All of these things are explainable in only one way. The ideal order which their thinking tries to realize has produced something new in them.The issue begins to form in their minds, parts or aspects are connected, hidden affinities come to light, not because they wanted it, but because they went beyond more people in recognizing a necessity that is within us and also beyond us.The ability to use analogies to pass quickly from one topic to another is an expression of logic itself. The eye that can trace the lines of necessity and single out the relevant from the more common irrelevant associations is guided by the invisible purpose of ideal rationality. The influence of ideal rationality is felt stronger in some minds rather than others. Ideal rationality organizes the chaos of experience into fixed categories. In inquiring minds these categories form themselves more readily and in closer alignment, as logic gains control and prepares to create a new synthesis.